Yesterday, Idolator dipped its toes in the baptismal pool of Christian rock, a genre about which we know approximately zilch. So we asked Andrew Beaujon–author of the excellent Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock–to help us out a bit, and he’s passed along a handful of annotated MP3s that cover the modern-day Christian-rock terrain:
Apologetix – The Real Sin Savior [MP3, link expired]
I thought I’d start Day Two with a good example of everything that’s wrong with Christian music. I mean, here you have a bunch of middle-aged men trying to connect with “the kids” by recasting an Eminem song as an evangelistic tool, complete with a couple of swipes at evolution (and, of course, Will Smith). It’s simply dreadful (though impressively produced) but still kind of fascinating.
D.C. Talk – Jesus Freak [MP3, link expired]
For most of their career, D.C. Talk proved only that Christians were just as capable of making mediocre R&B as anyone. Then came this song, which you can look at in a couple of ways. First, it shook Christian music out of its easy-listening comfort zone, combining rap and grunge in a way that was way out there for its mileu in 1995. Second, it takes a lesson from the best hip-hop (and early rock), making a supposedly socially undesirable upbringing (in this case, evangelical Christianity) a badge of honor. Third, it’s crazy catchy–just try to get it out of your head (you can watch the video here).
David Crowder Band – Hope Rising (Or Be Lifted) [MP3, link expired]
I’m not gonna waste anyone’s time trying to prove that Christian music can be “cool.” Most of it isn’t, and I figure the Idolator audience is probably well aware of Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion, and all the Christians it’s okay to like. So I’m gonna close out with a typically all-over-the-place track from the group that made me understand worship music, the Christian music that doesn’t even try to be for non-Christians. For the full story, buy my damn book, but in brief: Crowder gives his audience a space to let themselves go, to lose themselves in adoration and praise. He could make mediocre music like most of his colleagues, but he chooses to push the limits of what’s acceptable in a very conservative culture instead, and I think he’s awesome.
Body Piercing Saved My Life [Official Site]
Earlier: You Gotta Have Faith: Idolator’s Christian-Rock Revue